Barn destroyed, 30 animals killed -- and it's happened before

Posted at: 03/03/2014 12:10 AM
Updated at: 03/03/2014 12:20 AM
By: Steve Flamisch

TAGHKANIC – When Joe and Fran Macri saw the orange glow of the flames last week, they could not believe their eyes.

Their old barn burned down last March after an animal kicked over a heat lamp. Now, their new barn was on fire.

"We don't know what happened," Joe Macri said. "We'd like to find out what happened, but so far nobody's been telling us anything. They're asking us, 'What do you think happened?'"

The fire on Sopak Rd. broke out late Friday, killing birds, goats, horses, pigs, rabbits and sheep. One goat had just given birth that night, and many others were pregnant.

Only one animal made it out: a miniature horse named Princess who nuzzled against Fran Macri as the fire raged.

"It just broke my heart," she said. "As I was holding on to her, she tried to turn around to turn back to the barn because her baby was in there. She was calling for her."

But her baby died, and Princess herself was badly injured. A veterinarian euthanized her. "I gave her a kiss, and I said, 'Give her the needle,'" Joe Macri said, choking back tears.

Joe is a retired mason from Italy who keeps the animals as a hobby. Fran is a Brooklyn native who never envisioned being a farm wife. Their sons run Jo Jo’s Pizzeria on Route 82.

The Macris used to bring the baby goats to the pizza shop, where children would feed and pet them. And that may soon happen again.

Joe, who turns 69 on Tuesday, said he is planning to rebuild the barn – again – and get more animals. Or, as he calls them, friends.

"As a matter of fact, I was in the house thinking about it: How long is it going to be before I can get this thing cleaned up and get another barn so I can have some of my friends?" he said.